The blood-alcohol levels set by Maryland law to determine whether someone is "driving while intoxicated" or "driving under the influence of alcohol" were misstated in an article in yesterday's Metro section. A person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.07 percent is considered to be driving under the influence. A level of 0.10 percent or higher constitutes driving while intoxicated, a more serious offense. (Published 12/29/90)
Six years ago, after Eugene Day, of Prince George's County, was convicted of drunken driving for the second time, Maryland officials sought to keep him off the road by taking away his driver's license.
It meant that Day, 41, was not allowed to drive a car, truck, van, bus, Jeep or motorcycle. But he could still ride a bike.
So he did. And yesterday, he was convicted of riding his bike on the Capital Beltway while under the influence of alcohol.
Day, of Forestville, defended himself in a non-jury trial that lasted an hour. He argued to District Judge John Kelly that the offense of "driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol" does not apply in the case of an allegedly drunk bike rider. But as prosecutor Robert Tobin pointed out, Maryland's highest appeals court ruled more than a decade ago that it does apply.
"The law is clear on this," Tobin said after Day's trial in Upper Marlboro. State traffic laws define a "vehicle" as "any device in, on, or by which any individual or property is or might be transported or towed on a highway."
A police officer testified that on July 14 he noticed Day riding along the Beltway in Camp Springs at 12:30 in the morning. He told Day to walk the bike to the next exit. Twenty minutes later, the officer said, he spotted Day on the Beltway again, a few miles south, still riding.
Day declined to take a blood-alcohol test after being arrested, Tobin said. He said the officer charged Day with driving under the influence of alcohol after smelling his breath and noticing that Day was unable to walk straight, his speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot.
Kelly yesterday imposed a 60-day sentence, then suspended the term and ordered Day to undergo alcohol abuse treatment. Day could not be reached for comment after the trial.
In Maryland, driving under the influence of alcohol, or with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 to 0.12 percent, is a less serious offense than driving while intoxicated, with a level above 0.12 percent.
Tobin said Day was convicted of driving while intoxicated in 1978. In 1984, he was convicted of driving under the influence. His license was suspended after the second conviction and never restored because he failed to show up for a Motor Vehicle Administration hearing, Tobin said.